I’m adding the question mark because we don’t know yet if the guy who said it is who he says he is. But if it’s trueif — then Ace is right: it’s “a serious, meltdown level scandal for the media.”

It’s worth reading the whole thread at Lightstalkers, not only for the blog-bashing and grotesque moral equivalence (“Israel is no different than Saudia Arabia or Egypt when it comes to oppressing people”), but because the guy who made the accusation showed up and left a second comment:

hi all,

sorry to have not been specific. just to make this clear. i was not in qana and am not referring to the massacre that took place there. i have been covering beirut, and it was at numerous protest, evacuations as well as the israeli strikes in chiyeh, which unfortunately did not get that much coverage in the media—where i saw this behavior occur. i have also heard from friends of mine in lebanon, respected photographers, that this was not an isolated incident.

unfortunately in each of these cases, it was the lebanese wire photographers that started these situations. that said, i am not trying to make generalizations. i know that there are a number of dedicated and brilliant lebanese photographers here who are putting themselves in extremely dangerous situations in order to document what is happening here in their country, and in hindsight, i realize it was irresponsible for me to post the previous statement because it was not specific enough. however, this has been something i’ve noticed happening here, more than any other place i’ve worked previously.

i agree that there is a lot of pressure, particularly on stringers (i myself am a freelancer), due to cost cutting and how the big image banks pay their non-staff photographers, and while unfortunate events like qana and chiyeh require the utmost responsiblity, seeing it happen for things like protests and evacuations is equally as disturbing and doesn’t bode well.

again, i am terribly sorry for rattling the saber so hard….re-reading my words I too should have been a bit more responsible.

by Bryan Denton Fri Aug 11 16:27:35 UTC 2006 | Beirut, Lebanon |

“Not an isolated incident.” Buckle up.

Update: There are lots of photos from Chiyeh — alternate spelling “Chiyah” — on the wires right now. Photos like this one:

chiyah1.jpg

And this one:

chiyah2.jpg

And this one:

chiyah3.jpg

Denton’s accusation on Lightstalkers: “i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms.”

Update: More wisdom from Ace: “Bryan, unfortunately, by telling the truth that the media doesn’t want the public to know, you have now opened yourself to a smear campaign which will be ferocious and ugly.”

Denton has a website.

Update: More photos from Chiyeh, this time spelled “Shiyah,” at Getty. Click and use the search box in the upper left and you’ll see.

Update: Even more photos on Yahoo with the spelling “Chiah.” Ace has a good one. More:

chiah1.jpg

chiah2.jpg

chiah3.jpg

And of course, the obligatory Koran-in-the-rubble shot:

chiah4.jpg

Update: Another nice catch by Dan Riehl, this time regarding the AP’s whitewash of Green Helmet. Does she write pieces like that because she’s bureau chief in Iran? Or is she bureau chief in Iran because she writes pieces like that?

Update: Time for me to eat some crap. Bob Owens e-mailed me the link to this post of his the other day, and I e-mailed back saying he was making too much of it, that the bodies were probably partially exposed in the rubble and the rescue teams had merely covered the exposed parts with a sheet.

Bob just e-mailed and told me to look again. The photo comes from Chiah. His explanation just got a lot more plausible.

Tags: Egypt Israel